Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Very Black and the Seven Games

I meant to get photos. Really.., no kidding.., I meant to.., I;m gonna do it!

Sorry but this pic is the best I could do for now and yes it is from when Red Dun was still here.

Black and I have been playing with Parelli Natural Horsemanship and the Seven Games since he came back. We spent a lot of time on the first game but we are moving along pretty nice now.

1. The Friendly Game

Until you can win this one you can't move very far forward. It is a game that builds rapport and trust and confidence in each other. We are getting that.

2.The Porcupine Game

This game teaches a horse to move away from steady pressure. This game will keep your horse from pushing on you and keeps you safe as he learns to yield to your suggestions. Also begins the yields you will ask for when riding and moving him off your leg pressure.

3. The Driving Game

Another game that teaches a horse to move away from rhythmic pressure. Also, this game will help keep you safer around your horse and help him to learn to yield to rhythmic pressure. You driving game can support your porcupine game.

4. The Yo Yo Game

This game teaches a horse to back away from your suggestion. Then when invited back in, he can come back to you as close as you want. It helps him learn to move his feet both forward and backward when asked. Another safety move. This begins your "draw" for the Liberty sessions you will be playing with later.

5. The Circllng Game

This game teaches your horse to circle around you and maintain his gait and direction until asked to do otherwise.

6. The Squeeze Game

This game teaches your horse to squeeze between you and a tight space or over an obstacle etc and then turn and face you.

7. The Sideways Game

This game teaches your horse to move sideways away from you and will begin the "sidepass" type of manuever that you will use both in riding and at Liberty.

Right now Black and I are up to the circling game. We are finally almost winning the Friendly game with my Carrot Stick and Savvy String which at first I think he perceived as a lunge whip. Now he is starting to remember how good it felt when his Mama used to swish the flies off him with her tail. I think he is happy with his new Mama even though she carries a funny stick now.

Very Black comes home

For those of you following the adventures of my miniature horse Little Man you will remember that Very Black and his friend Red Dun left the farm for a new place a few weeks ago. I also left the farm for about three weeks to help my sister with my Mom who is ninety three years young and also to attend the wedding of my niece. Before leaving, I took an examination to become a CPC-H which is a type of credential for medical coding. Had to leave my cowboy home to take care of everything else. I passed my test, got certified and my cowboy added Very Black to our little herd. He is sort of like a gift for me from a good friend and a husband who saw a beautiful bond in the making when he watched Very Black and I together. Little Man is of course very happy to have his friend back and we are both wishing Red Dun a very happy life with his new family. I will try to get some pictures up of him soon, He is a gorgeous coal black quarter horse (yes Arabian family that is correct. First minis then QHs. What is the world coming to next?)

RED DUN, VERY BLACK and my friend the dummy

Hi everyone! Little Man Miniature horse here and do I have a funny story to tell. My Becky brought me some new friends this weekend but they are VERY scared of me. I call them and call them with a very small mini whinny but they will not come up to the barn. They are BIG horses that she says are boarders. I wonder what that means? Their owner is having a hard time right now and they need a place to live for a while. One horse is a big RED DUN with a pretty diamond on his forehead. He seems very frightened of everything. I don't know why he is scared but he will not even come get something to drink from the water tank.The other horse is VERY BLACK and he is also frightened of me. My Becky takes them five gallon buckets of water and carries it all the way down the hill and back up the other hill. She lets me go outside and I can eat grass while she puts a halter on the red horse and brings him into the barn. I do not know if they are afraid of minis or maybe they think I am a white mountain lion! I like being a little SCARY!My Becky plays some Parelli games with RED DUN and she says he is very smart. Do you think a smart BIG horse would be afraid of a mini? Hey,I'm just asking, okay? So even though I have new friends I still have to play with my only friend who stays in the barn with me and that is the COW DUMMY. He is metal and has wiggly legs that people can catch with a rope. I like to scratch my back on his big pointy horns and I can push him around in the dirt. I like him okay but he is not ALIVE so he can only be a pretend friend. I hope pretty soon that RED DUN and VERY BLACK will get brave and we can be REAL friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I wanna be a cowboy's sweetheart

This afternoon I looked up and my hot cowboy in Wranglers was coming in the back door. I've been up at my sister's house for three weeks to help with my Mom. It is the longest I have been away from my sweetheart since we were married in 1982. We had a 26th wedding anniversary last month. Yes I admit we are old cowboy and cowgirl sweethearts.

You know, like the old folks you see in the store and you think it is cool how they still hold hands? Yep I know you've seen them and thought the same thing, right? Okay, so now me and hot cowboy are getting to that age but we think we are still young. LOL I want to be like Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and ride off into the sunset. Or John Wayne and his ranch wife in the movie The Cowboys. Yes I want to be like that.

So comfortable that we sit together on our old lawn glider at nightfall and watch fireflies lighting up in a dance across the hills in the evening. After supper I like it when he calls me outside to look at the moon. How I can look at him sitting a horse after twenty six years of watching him ride and I still want him. I see him across the room at a dance and I stand there and hope he asks me to dance and when he does and I step into his arms it feels like coming home.

Little Man's BIG Adventure

Hello everyone! I am a miniature horse whose registered name is Prairie Farm Good Show. My new lady calls me Little Man and I came to live at Trinity Ridge Farm on April 12th. I have a big stall with nice smelling pine shavings and my new lady lets me play in the big arena before I eat in the morning and then again at night.We play something she calls Parelli Natural Horsemanship and I am learning the seven games. It is different than what I am used to but so far it is fun! Today my new lady let me play all day in the big arena. She said today was Saturday and that is a fun day for minis and for her too.
The big arena is open on one side and so I looked out at the pretty pasture with the three big trees and a little creek and some big rocks. I wondered if I was VERY good if one day I could run like the wind up and down the big hills and jump the little creek and climb on the big rocks. The rain was soft and gentle on the grass outside and I wished I could go out there too. After a while I got sleepy listening to the rain on the roof and I took a nap.
New lady opened the arena door and I rain quickly to her to see if she had a treat for me. YEAH! She did have one and then she gave me good scratches under my mane where I like it best. I am really itchy right now and all my winter hair is coming out. Sometimes new lady even kisses me. It is a little embarrassing but she is pretty nice so I let her do it anyway. She put my blue halter on and said we were going on an adventure!
She slid the door open and I followed her outside. I had been outside before and saw my new friends the pretty Arabian girls. They are Tango, Jazz and Marina. I also have a new really big friend and her name is Sissy. She is a Quarter Horse and she is the BIG boss around here. I better watch out for her! I like my new farm and my new lady but I hope my other lady is not sad or missing me. She was very nice too.
We went down the big gravel driveway and I trotted along and tried not to pull hard on my lead rope. We went past a big field that was alfalfa hay just starting to come up. The rain made it look like it was all full of sparkles. Everything was really exciting and new so sometimes I forgot not to pull on my rope. New lady did not get mad and she let me trot in circles for awhile and we played games until I could relax. Then she let me trot ahead like she was driving me and she must have been playing pony cart!
Everything was so fun but then I saw a big SCARY thing. I stopped and then I backed up. Then I bumped hard into new lady and I turned around. “I think I want to go home” I wanted to say to her. She reached down and stroked my back and told me it was okay. She said it was something called a CULVERT. “I know it looks pretty scary but we are fine.” she told me. I was still afraid and I still wanted to go home but I wanted new lady to be proud of me. I let her turn me around and I went closer to the SCARY thing. She kept her hand on my back so I felt like I should be brave. I trotted right past the SCARY culvert. WHEW was I glad when I got past it! “What a good Little Man.” she said and I felt happy. We went through the grass beside something called a cattle guard. “Good Little Man” she said again. I blew some air through my nostrils and made her laugh!
We were going to visit a lady she called my Aunt Dixie. She visited at my farm before and she is nice too. She said I am very handsome. On the way up the drive I saw some very pretty horses that ran up and down the hill. They were very excited and called to me and wanted to be my friends. They were something called Paso Fino's.
I got to play in a big round pen that was full of nice green grass while new lady and Aunt Dixie went in the house to talk. When they came back out, new lady put my halter back on and I tried to show her how pretty I am and how I can trot nice up and down and stop when I should. I already showed her how I can jump when she came to the farm and that day she took my picture.
Aunt Dixie played the seven games with me and after that we had to go home. I ran around her in circles and bucked and shook my head. I made new lady laugh again. I like to make her laugh. It was a really fun adventure and I can’t wait until it is fun Saturday again!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Background check

When I was a little girl I dreamed horses, played horses, watched horses. I was born the fourth child in a family of five. My father was a Congregationalist minister who worked six days a week for a feed and fertilizer company to support his family and on Sundays he pastored a small and struggling little church.

I grew up before cell phones and I-pods. Before Sponge Bob and MTV. I watched My Friend Flicka and Fury and partnerships like Roy Rogers had with Trigger. I knew I wanted to ride horses and have them be my friends as soon as I was old enough to sit crosslegged in front of our TV.

Freelove, bra-burnings and LSD were in all the newspaper headlines. High school guys I knew were thinking about a place called Vietnam. I was going to sit-ins and peace protests with my hippie brother. Peace sign earrings, bell bottoms.., yes I was a true flower child of the seventies.

I was offered a literature scholarship but I was certain we were not a family who could afford college even with that kind of help. I may have been wrong about that but I never even told my parents. Instead, I put an advertisement in the back of a magazine call Arabian Horse News. I was looking for an apprenticeship to learn about training horses. I had been told that no one would hire a kid who nothing about horses but I sent the ad in anyway. I had responses from all over.

I got a job.., I learned about horses. I trained hard.., played hard. I fell in love. Then my father got cancer. I eventually got married to that boy I fell for. I kept training horses and then I took that job in an office. I got disillusioned by the Arabian show circuit. I quit training horses for others and began competitive and endurance riding. A lot of years went by.., we lost both of his folks. We bought our beautiful farm and started pouring heart and soul into it. I kept riding. I found the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program. I wanted to start training and helping other train rheir own horses again. That pretty much brings us up to the present.

So now I'm wondering.., can I find that brave and adventurous girl who placed an ad in a magazine? Who went off to a place where she knew no one and began a new life and learned about something she loved. Who didn't let other people tell her she couldn't do something. Any one with experience in finding lost souls please leave me a message. I'm not sure if I remember how to do this but it is starting to come back to me.

Land appeared beneath her feet where there had been none.., because she dared to step.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Finding the trail home

What a relief! I logged on to the AAPC website and found out that I passed my coding exam. WOO HOO!!! I am so glad that is over with. Seems funny to get a certificate that says I know how to do a job that I have already been doing for.., well let's just say a really long time now. It’s a strange world sometimes, isn’t it?

Now I can add a CPC-H after my signature as a Certified Professional Coder-Hospital Based. My main reason for doing this is in case I need a home-based job so that I can take care of my Mom who is 93. So now, the first thing on my “change your life” list has been accomplished.

It seems like it was yesterday that the Doctor I was training horses for came down to the barn and asked me, “Would you be interested in helping out at my office for a few days?” Events and decisions that seem so small can change your life. Paths taken, as well as paths not chosen, have outcomes that are not seen when you take the first step.

It was after this that I first began to choose things with my head instead of my heart. I began trading my passion for horses away. In return, I received safety and security, insurance and a 401K. All the things I thought I needed.

Can you go back? Can you really start over and be that 1970’s child who goes on a journey to find herself? I hope you’ll come back to check on me. I like thinking I have friends with me as I search for my trail less traveled and take my first steps in the direction that leads back home.